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Paternalistic Leadership Style And Its Implication On Work-Place Relationship



1.1 Background Of The Study

Organizations are formed all over the globe, in both the public and commercial sectors, with the primary purpose of achieving predefined goals and objectives. The importance of human components (workers) in accomplishing these aims and objectives cannot be overstated (Gberevbie, Joshua, Excellence-Oluye, & Oyeyemi, 2017). This is because, according to Gberevbie, Joshua, Excellence-Oluye, & Oyeyemi, (2017); Jain & Duggal, (2015), regardless of finance, land, and technology, among other resources, companies cannot achieve anything meaningful in terms of achieving their specified goals unless human resources galvanize all other resources. Several factors, including innovative remuneration structures, access to employee benefits, a pleasant work environment, an organization’s core values, career advancement opportunities, recognition, and employee engagement, have been attributed to improved employee performance, which is an attribute of workplace relationships (Armstrong & Murlis, 2004; Armstrong & Taylor, 2014; Popli & Rizvi, 2016).

Furthermore, previous studies (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009; Trottier, Van Wart, & Wang, 2008; Yasir, Imran, Irshad, Mohamad, & Khan, 2016) indicated that leadership in an organization, and its influence on the organizational workforce’s relationship, is at the top of the list of factors influencing employee commitment.

Leadership is defined as a process in which one or more people persuade a group of others to take a certain action. The term “leadership” has been used in a variety of contexts, including politics, business, academia, and social work. According to Messick and Krammer (2004), an individual’s ability to demonstrate leadership traits is influenced not only by his individual characteristics and abilities, but also by the events and environment in which he finds himself. On the other hand, how effectively an organization’s managers or leaders understand and use suitable leadership styles in their responsibilities as managers or leaders determines how well workers in the organization interact, relate, and contribute to the organization’s resources being harnessed.

As a result, leadership styles, among other elements, have a major role in workplace relationships and organizational productivity development. According to Fry (2003), leadership is the employment of a leading approach to provide motivation, maximize the staff’s potential for growth, and promote palatable workplace relationships within the company. Organizational leaders in some parts of the world have been accused of using top-down, command-and-control leadership styles to lead their subordinates, which frequently results in negative reactions from their subordinates (employees) and impedes cordiality between the two parties (Akinbode & Fagbohunde, 2012). The consequences of these leadership styles include employee demotivation and a degradation of employee commitment, among other things. There are many types of leadership, but the study is focused on paternalistic leadership.

A paternalistic leadership style, as stipulated by Silin (1976), is an act of handling relationships with subordinates with discipline, fatherly authority, and morality embedded in it. Paternalistic leadership, according to this description, is a conglomerate of three components: authority, empathy, and moral leadership. Authoritarianism is a leadership style in which the leader has control over his or her followers, and each follower is obligated to obey the leader. While benevolent leadership entails the leader leading subordinates with care and personalized consideration for the subordinate’s well-being, Moral leadership, on the other hand, demonstrates greater moral characteristics, altruism, and self-control. Benevolence, morale, and authoritarianism are the three fundamental components of a paternalistic leadership style. Among these, benevolence is the same as exhibiting elegance, demonstrating a company owner’s complete care for subordinates. A business owner’s high personal values are demonstrated by demonstrating their high personal values to be a role model. Because authoritarianism demonstrates the power and control of the business owner, the competency of the leadership is dependent on coordination between the leader and its members. According to Bamford (2013), this leadership style requires leaders to personally immerse themselves in the work lives of their workers, and it has a significant influence in defining the level of employee interaction and involvement in the firm. Thus, this study is focused on the paternalistic leadership style and its implications for work-place relationships.

1.2 Statement Of  The Problem

Having ineffective, weak leaders in the workplace has a number of negative consequences for employees and the company as a whole. Companies with a weak leadership style usually underperform; they lack vision, effective communication abilities, and enviable workplace relationship.

Bad leadership is costly; under the watchful eye of inept leaders and managers, employees’ morale plummets and they become less devoted to the company and its goal, resulting in lower-quality work and a slower pace of completion. A poor leadership style might stifle management’s ability to generate new ideas and solve issues. It also has a negative impact on relationships in the workplace. Based on the slew of issues listed above, a poor leadership style has a negative impact on employees and organizational performance.

Most leadership studies as propounded by Kelly 2019; Sudha, 2016; and Yukl (2013), have outlined a number of leadership styles that executives employ in order to run businesses. Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, laissez-faire leadership, and paternalistic leadership have been identified among others as the most often used leadership styles in organizational leadership research (Abasilim, 2014; Rehman, 2012; Rukmani, Ramesh, & Jayakrishnan, 2010). However, the focus of this research is on paternalistic leadership.

Paternalistic leadership is commonly utilized in the workplace to humanize and moralize it. Paternalistic leadership, as opined by Bamford (2013), plays a pertinent role in the organizational behavior of employees and employers. Thus, it is critical that workers be encouraged not just to improve their in-job performance but also to engage in good working relationships. According to Bamford (2013), this leadership style necessitates leaders being personally involved in the work lives of their employees and has a significant impact on defining the amount of employee connections and involvement in the business.Hence, the very aim of this study is to critically examine the paternalistic leadership style and its effects on workplace relationships.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The general aim of this study is to assess the paternalistic leadership style and its effects on workplace relationships. To achieve this, the study will specifically:

  1. Ascertain if a paternalistic leadership style promotes effective workplace relationships.
  2. Determine whether a paternalistic leadership style fosters workplace friendliness between employees and superiors.
  3. Identify if a paternalistic leadership style promotes moral qualities, selflessness, and self-discipline among leaders in an organization.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions:

1)        Does a paternalistic leadership style promote an effective workplace relationship?

2)        Does a paternalistic leadership style promote workplace friendliness between employees and higher authorities?

3)        Does the dopaternalistic leadership style promote moral qualities, selflessness, and self-discipline among leaders in an organization?

1.5 Significance Of The study

Unfriendly leadership has for long been the case in most Nigerian organizations, as workers are commanded like slaves and treated like cooperating beggars. This has resulted in a lack of job satisfaction among workers and low productivity. Hence, this study will once again enlighten managers and other leaders in the organization on the need to utilize the leadership style in study so as to get the best out of the employees.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to paternalistic leadership styles and their effects on workplace relationships.



1.6 Scope Of The Study

The study generally focuses on paternalistic leadership styles and their effects on workplace relationships. The study will further ascertain if a paternalistic leadership style promotes effective workplace relationships and also whether a paternalistic leadership style promotes workplace friendliness between employees and higher authorities. The study will also identify if a paternalistic leadership style promotes moral qualities, selflessness, and self-discipline among leaders in an organization. Thus, the study will be carried out by Dataplus Interactive Ltd. in Abuja, where the respondents will be obtained.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Leader: A person who influence and direct the affairs of others.

Leadership Style: A leadership style refers to a leader’s characteristic behaviors when directing, motivating, guiding, and managing groups of people.

Paternalistic Leadership Style: This is a managerial approach that involves a dominant authority figure who acts as a patriarch or matriarch and treats employees and partners as though they are members of a large, extended family(Searchio 2021).

Employee: An employee is simply refers to someone employed by an employer in an organization to work under another person known as the manager or the supervisor officer.


Akinbode, G. A., & Fagbohunde, O. B. (2012). Leadership and organisational factors as predictors of employees organisational commitment in Nigeria: An empirical analysis. Business and Management Research, 1, 69-87.

Armstrong, M., & Murlis, H. (2004). Reward management: A handbook of remuneration strategy and practice (5th ed.). London, England: Kogan Page.

Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice (13th ed.). London, England: Kogan Page.

Avolio, B., Zhu, W., Koh, W. & Bhatia, P., 2004, Transformational leadership and organizational commitment: mediating role of psychological empowerment and moderating role of structural distance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25 (5), pp.90 102.

Bamford, M., Wong, C. A., & Laschinger, H. (2013), “The influence of authentic leadership and areas of worklife on work engagement of registered nurses.

Gberevbie, D., Joshua, S., Excellence-Oluye, N., & Oyeyemi, A. (2017). Accountability for sustainable development and the challenges of leadership in Nigeria.

Jain, P., & Duggal, T. (2015). The role of transformational leadership in organisational commitment. International Journal of Business Quantitative Economics and Applied Management Research.

Kelly, S., & MacDonald, P. (2019). A look at leadership styles and workplace solidarity communication. International Journal of Business Communication.

Messick, D. M. and Kramer, R. M (2004). The Psychology of Leadership, New Perspectives and Research. London: Longman Publishing Co.

Popli, S., & Rizvi, I. A. (2016). Drivers of employee engagement: The role of leadership style. Global Business Review.

Rukmani, K., Ramesh, M., & Jayakrishnan, J. (2010). Effect of leadership styles on organizational effectiveness. European Journal of Social Sciences.

Sudha, K. S., Shahnawaz, M. G., & Farhat, A. (2016). Leadership styles, leader’s effectiveness and well-being: Exploring collective efficacy as a mediator. Vision.

Trottier, T., Van Wart, M., & Wang, X. (2008). Examining the nature and significance of leadership in government organisations. Public Administration Review.

Yasir, M., Imran, R., Irshad, M. K., Mohamad, N. A., & Khan, M. M. (2016). Leadership styles in relation to employees’ trust and organizational change capacity: evidence from non-profit organisations.

Yukl, G. (2013). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


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